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Apple Watch Ultra buying guide: everything you need to know

Apple unveiled three smartwatches at its Far Out event on September 7. This includes the regular Apple Watch Series 8, a cheaper Watch SE, and a new Apple Watch Ultra. The Apple Watch Ultra is the most premium offering in the lineup, with a price that’s the same as the iPhone 14. For the price, you get a rugged watch that can withstand the most challenging conditions and temperatures.

If your eyes are on the Apple Watch Ultra, here’s everything you might need to know before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Apple Watch Ultra design, colors, and watch bands

A person using the Apple Watch Ultra while scuba diving underwater.

The Apple Watch Ultra is the most robust Apple watch ever. Its case is built out of aerospace-grade Titanium, while the flat display is carved out of Saphhire Glass. The case is thicker than usual and is slightly protruded in order to protect the display from severe damage. On top of that, Apple Watch Ultra is MIL-STD 810H certified, meaning the watch has military-grade protection.

The Watch Ultra is offered in a singular 49mm option, making it the largest Apple Watch ever. Unlike the regular Apple Watch, it gets two buttons along with the Digital Crown. The Digital Crown and the side on the right are placed in a protruding extension. It’s worth noting that the crown is larger on the Apple Watch Ultra and has more prominent grooves. On the left is the newly added Action button that can be programmed to quick-launch a specific feature.

A person's wrist showing the Apple Watch Ultra and its compass mode.

Apple Watch Ultra is also designed for water sports like kiteboarding, recreational scuba diving, and wakeboarding. For the same, it gets IPX6 water resistance at depths of up to 100 meters. In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 8 settles for a depth of 50 meters. The Apple Watch Ultra is also certified to EN 13319, an internationally recognized standard for dive accessories.

Three Apple Watch Ultra devices showing Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean Bands.

The Apple Watch Ultra has a single Titanium color option. However, there are a few different band options to choose from — including Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean Band. As the names suggest, these bands are designed to cater to specific activities. The Trail Loop is for endurance enthusiasts and runners. As per Apple, this is the thinnest watch band it has ever made.

Then there’s the Alpine Loop, built keeping explorers and hikers in mind. It is a band made from one continuous weaving process with a custom G-Hook. This band is being marketed as the one for most consumers. Finally, the Ocean Band is aimed at water sports enthusiasts. The band is molded from a flexible fluoroelastomer and has a dual clasp system. It’s water resistant and gets a long tail in order to easily fit users over a wet suit.

Apple Watch Ultra specs

Crown of the Apple Watch Ultra in closeup.

The Apple Watch Ultra packs an LTPO OLED display with a resolution of 502 x 410 pixels. It has a brightness of up to 2,000 nits, making it the brightest Apple watch ever. The watch is powered by Apple’s latest S8 chipset, which uses the same CPU as chips in the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7. There’s 32GB of onboard storage for loading apps, songs, etc. In order to improve navigation accuracy, Apple leverages dual-frequency GPS that integrates L1 and L5 signals.

Introducing Apple Watch Ultra | Apple

The Apple Watch Ultra sports dual speakers for improved max volume, while the three microphones are supposed to enhance the call quality in harsh conditions. Along with this, it gets an 86-decibel siren designed for emergency situations which can be heard up to 600 feet (or 180 meters) away.

Connectivity options on Apple Watch Ultra include LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and NFC. Although Apple doesn’t reveal its battery capacity, it’s clear that Apple Watch Ultra has a larger capacity battery than the Apple Watch Series 8. According to Apple, the Ultra can run up to 36 hours in normal mode and up to 60 hours in low-power mode.

The Apple Watch Ultra runs WatchOS 9, which brings a bunch of nifty features.

Apple Watch Ultra features and software

Someone wearing the Apple Watch Ultra while climbing.

The Apple Watch Ultra is equipped with a blood oxygen sensor, an optical heart sensor for pulse tracking, an electric heart sensor for taking an electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement, a gyroscope, a G-accelerometer, and a barometer.

Along with these sensors, Apple has added a temperature sensor to the Watch Ultra. The sensor records wrist temperature every 5 seconds to provide you with detailed data about temperature changes in your body. Apple claims that the sensor is capable of measuring heat change as low as 0.1 degrees. As a result, the Watch Ultra can more accurately track ovulation. Utilizing data from the temperature sensor and heart rate sensor, the Watch Ultra provides a detailed report of a person’s menstrual cycle. It also informs the user about fluctuations in the period cycle.

The Apple Watch Ultra gets a redesigned compass as part of WatchOS 9. It shows analog and digital views of the compass simultaneously. There are a couple more views that show latitude, longitude, elevation, incline, compass waypoint, and Backtrack. Compass waypoint marks a location or point on the map, while the Backtrack option uses GPS to mark the route so that you can return to the base point when lost.

Apple Watch Ultra on a black bg

The additional Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra can be used to begin an instant workout, mark locations, track running experience, etc. For runners and athletes, Apple has added new metrics for performance tracking. This includes stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and running power. You can also track multiple-sequence events, such as triathlons, duathlons, etc., via a feature called Multisport Workout.

The Oceanic+ app on the Watch Ultra tracks water sports and ocean activities. Plus, it has a Depth Gauge that enables you to view current depth, water temperature, duration underwater, and max depth reached.

Apple also introduced car crash detection with Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra. It utilizes motion sensors and an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm to detect a severe car crash. As the watch detects a car crash, it checks in with the user and dials emergency services if they do not respond within a countdown of 10 seconds. In this situation, emergency responders and contacts receive the location of the injured user.

Apple Watch Ultra price and release date

Front and two side views of the Apple Watch Ultra.

The Apple Watch Ultra with GPS and cellular connectivity costs $799. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 8, you do not have the option to choose between models. It’s a singular model that costs $799 upfront or $33.29 monthly. With your purchase, you will get a three-month free subscription to Apple Fitness+, worth $30.

The Apple Watch Ultra is available in a total of 40 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, and India. It is up for pre-orders now and will be available in stores starting September 23.

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Ayush Chourasia
Ayush works as an independent tech journalist. He has been writing since 2018 and has worked with publications like India…
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